Old Oil Stocks – in progress “E”
Chances are people seeking financial information here will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, a small non-profit program that depends on donations, simply does not have resources to provide free research of corporate histories.
However, AOGHS continues to look into forum queries as part of its energy education mission. Some investigations have revealed little-known stories like Buffalo Bill’s Shoshone Oil Company; many others have found questionable dealings during booms and epidemics of “black gold” fever like Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
Visit the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and view company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? AOGHS will continue to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”
Eagle Oil & Gas Company
Eagle Oil and Gas Company is notable for having drilled the first natural gas well in Van Buren County, Arkansas, in 1923. The well was reported to have production of four million cubic feet, but company president W.E. Hall (William Edward) died that year and the company soon disappeared. Hall bequeathed to his widow (Leona) property and mineral rights in Section 32, Township 9 North, Range 13 West, of Van Buren County.
Seventy-five years later, 15 heirs and about 65 other claimants created a leasing nightmare when SEECO Inc., a subsidiary of Southwestern Energy, wanted to drill for natural gas on the property. It proposed drilling deep into the Fayetteville shale formation. Each claimant had to be found, an audit trail substantiated, and lease agreements made in order to proceed. Hundreds of pages of research and documentation ensued, followed by litigation. SEECO ultimately drilled five producing gas wells on the property. Information about the early days of Eagle Oil & Gas Company may be found at the Van Buren County Historical Society in Clinton, Arkansas.
E.A. Johnston Oil Company
E.A. Johnston Oil Company was a relatively short-lived venture, incorporated January 27, 1919, with $1 million capitalization. The company held a lease for 500 acres in Archer County, Texas, just south of oil discoveries a year earlier around Wichita Falls (learn more in Boom Town Burkburnett). Records at the Texas Railroad Commission may have details of E.A. Johnston Oil drilling operations – if any were ever undertaken.
At the end of August 1919, enthusiastic E.A. Johnston Oil stock promotions briefly appeared in both the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette, as well as the Washington Post, and the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle. Each newspaper featured a prominent advertisement extolling the oil exploration company’s opportunities in Texas. The ads made a persuasive case in pursuit of investors and were headlined by the attention-grabbing “Oil or Money Back.” Little more is known about the abrupt disappearance and mysterious of the E.A. Johnston Oil Company.
Economy Oil Company
Economy Oil Company incorporated in 1921 in Taunton, Massachusetts, with capital of $25,000. Samuel Cohen was president and Alexander Glaser treasurer. The company drilled a wildcat well, Taylor No. 1, in Matagorda County, Texas, to a depth of 3,850 feet. The company reportedly produced 127 barrels of oil valued at $286 dollars in the third quarter of 1922. The same year it was also reported to be refining gasoline. The state chemist of South Carolina reported all six samples taken in 1921 were good; Standard Oil of New Jersey also tested, reporting 1,064 samples as good out of 1,071.
El Media Oil Company
Only a few newspapers in 1901 noted that El Media Oil Company had organized as an Arizona corporation with $500,000 in capital stock at a nominal par value of $1 per share. Artucles noted that John Arthur Drinkhouse was president; Ralph A. Grover vice-president; and George M. Willcox, secretary and treasurer. The new company leased 80 acres for 20 years south of McKittrick, California, 2.5 miles below the terminus of the Southern Pacific track. Investors were offerred stock at 15 cent per share. In a San Francisco Call promotion, El Media Oil declared, “If you want a ground floor proposition where the company means business, here it is.”
In April 1901, El Media Oil advised potential investors that it expected, “to order our equipment in a few days and to be in oil within sixty days thereafter, when our stock, following the example set by other conservatively managed companies, Will Undoubtedly Sell at Par.” The company promoted a small block of stock at 25 cent per share, declaring that “at this price it is one of the cheapest stocks on the market, when you take into consideration the value of the property and its immense possibilities”
But records at the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal reveal the company never drilled any wells. El Media Oil Company was one of the casualties of thousands of speculative oil exploration ventures – probably a victim of a lack of investors and under-capitalization. By 1905, the California Secretary of State had revoked the company’s charter to do business.
Elm Coal and Oil Company
Elm Coal and Oil Company was formed in New York in 1912 by Russian immigrant Philip Pearlman to provide commercial heating supply services – with either coal or fuel oil (a rapidly developing competitor). In addition to its 5th Avenue office, the company operated in Mt. Vernon, New York, as well. Elm Coal and Oil developed contracts with New York City government and survived through the Great Depression. In the Bronxville Press of January 2, 1934, Elm Coal and Oil Company advertised its engineering services and Fuel Oil Grade No. 2½ (essentially, diesel) products.
But founder Philip Pearlman died the next year; obituaries noted Pearlman as a Pehlam (New York) “coal and oil merchant and well-known philanthropist,” who had donated $200,000 the Bronx Hospital and supported his community faithfully. By 1941, Elm Coal and Oil had fallen into bankruptcy and litigation. The original court-appointed receiver resigned “because of the hopeless condition of the estate.”
Empire Explorations, Inc.
Empire Explorations incorporated in Spokane, Washington, on March 23, 1967, and acquired interests in 10 oil wells north of Shelby, Montana, in the Kevin Sunburst field. The new company used royalties from these wells to fund leasing and exploration for uranium, which was its primary business. Also see Mrs. Dysart’s Uranium Well. Ten years later, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported Empire Explorations “continuing work on oil interests in the East Cutbank Field of Montana.”
In 1977, the company leased Exxon acreage about 60 miles northwest of Spokane so Exxon could join the search for uranium. The Spokesman-Review reported: “(Exxon) one of the world’s largest oil companies, also has large interests in other mineral and energy projects. Its exploration crews have been active for two years in northeast Washington, seeking sufficient uranium ore to justify an investment in a uranium processing mill.”
Despite the lease to Exxon, Empire Explorations did not find uranium and ultimately failed. It became a shell corporation, changing its name to Comstock Empire International on July 22, 1988.
Escondido Oil Company
Escondido Oil Company was the creation of Stanley S. Turner, who filed a notice of intent to drill a wildcat well near the city of Escondido, California, on October 18, 1927, two months after incorporating his company in Reno, Nevada. This single well appears to be the only drilling undertaken Escondido Oil, which was capitalized at only $100,000 with $500 in stock subscribed.
The exploratory well, Stanley S. Turner No.1, was spudded on November 3, 1927, and completed two years later. The California Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (API number 07300054) includes documents about the well and Turner’s correspondence. The department ‘s website also provides a map/satellite view of where Escondido Oil’s cable-tool rig drilled to a depth 2,149 feet, finding a “showing of oil” along the way.
Although the California well was “shot” with explosives to increase oil production, it could not produce commercial quantities of oil and was plugged and abandoned. Escondido Oil was suspended from further operations in California by the tax commissioner on June 26, 1930. Read more California petroleum history of the era in Signal Hill Oil Boom.
Eureka Oil Company
In April 1926, the Eureka Oil Company (Eureka, Californian – F.W. Johnson, president) drilled the No. 1 Duff well in Humboldt County, California, but abandoned it by 1930. The well was abandoned after failing with both cable tool and rotary drilling efforts, as well as an unsuccessful “shooting” attempt. North Counties Oil Company took over the well, although the abandoned rig and casing were mortgaged and president F. W. Johnson’s “whereabouts were unknown.” Learn more about the state’s extensive petroleum history beginning with the First California Oil Well.
Eureka Oil & Gas Company
Eureka Oil & Gas Company launched a drilling boom with its discovery of commercial amounts of natural gas near Fayette, Alabama, on December 20, 1909. Within seven-years, more than 40 wells had been drilled in the area. But no significant new natural gas deposits were found. Historian Alan Cockrell noted, “A small discovery by Eureka Oil and Gas at Fayette fueled that city’s streetlights for a time but no natural gas was recovered anywhere in the state for several decades afterward.”
Alabama’s oil and natural gas industry would not truly begin until H.L. Hunt of Dallas, Texas, drilled in Choctaw County near the Mississippi border and discovered the Gilbertown oilfield. Today, coal bed methane has become the focus of energy exploration in the Black Warrior Basin. Learn more in First Alabama Oil Well and Alabama Central Oil & Gas Company.
The stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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